49ers protest has owner’s support: Reid
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. The San Francisco 49ers won’t be forcing their players to stand during the national anthem, safety Eric Reid said Wednesday.
Reid, the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in protest last season, said he had a conversation recently with 49ers CEO Jed York, who indicated he will continue to support his players if they decide to kneel during the national anthem to protest social injustice.
“He’s expressed very clearly that he wants to support us, that he’s not going to force us to do anything,” Reid said. “Speaking for our team, that’s what he’s told me explicitly.”
At its regularly scheduled fall meetings next week, the NFL will discuss the anthem issue. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a memo circulated to league executives that the anthem topic is dividing the league from its fans and the league needs to move beyond the controversy.
The 25-year-old Reid is the 49ers’ player representative to the union. The players’ union and the league on Wednesday released a joint statement saying NFLPA leaders would be attending the owners meetings next week in New York.
The league manual references that players should stand during the anthem. Reid said he believed any change would have to be collectively bargained.
More than 20 San Francisco players knelt during the anthem at their last two games, while teammates stood behind them with hands on their shoulders. That was in reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s condemnation last month of any player that didn’t stand. Trump called for owners to release players who did not stand.
Vice-President Mike Pence attended an NFL game Sunday in Indianapolis and walked out after seeing the 49ers players kneel, tweeting, “I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”